Heywood, J.L., Zubkov, M.V., Tarran, G.A., Fuchs, B.M. and Holligan, P.M.
Prokaryoplankton standing stocks in oligotrophic gyre and equatorial provinces of the Atlantic Ocean: evaluation of inter-annual variability
Deep-Sea Research II, 53, (14-16), . (doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2006.05.005).
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Temporal changes of prokaryoplankton in three different provinces of the Atlantic Ocean were examined between 1996 and 2004. The abundance and integrated biomass of three prokaryote groups (Prochlorococcus spp., Synechococcus spp. and other prokaryoplankton) were used to detect standing stock changes in the northern and southern oligotrophic gyres and in the equatorial region. Mean cell concentrations (±standard error of the mean) of Prochlorococcus spp., Synechococcus spp. and other prokaryoplankton above the nitracline in the northern oligotrophic gyre were 1.2×105 (±0.08), 5.0×103 (±1.22) and 0.9×106 (±0.03) cells mL?1, respectively. Similar concentrations of 1.2×105 (±0.06) Prochlorococcus mL?1, 1.9×103 (±0.29) Synechococcus mL?1 and 0.7×106 (±0.03) other prokaryoplankton mL?1 were measured in the southern oligotrophic gyre, with higher concentrations of all prokaryote groups in equatorial waters. Integrated biomass (±standard error of the mean) of Prochlorococcus spp. above the nitracline was 173 (±21) mg C m?2 in the northern oligotrophic gyre, 190 (±14) mg C m?2 in the southern oligotrophic gyre and 141 (±15) mg C m?2 in the equatorial region. Synechococcus spp. biomass was lower in each of the three provinces (18 (±2), 17 (±4) and 32 (±5) mg C m?2, respectively). The data showed no statistically significant inter-annual variability in Prochlorococcus or Synechococcus abundance or integrated biomass above the nitracline in any of the provinces. The abundance and biomass of the remaining prokaryoplankton were variable, but these variations could not be ascribed to seasonal differences and did not follow a clear inter-annual trend. In light of results presented here, recommendations on the frequency and spatial resolution of sampling needed to characterise province-scale temporal variability of prokaryoplankton communities have been suggested.
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